New to using archives?

Our reading room service resumes on Tuesday 8 December.

To find out how to access documents held by The National Archives, first you will need to check the record’s catalogue description in Discovery to see which options are available.

The catalogue also includes the records of other archives: please note that this page explains how you can access documents only held by The National Archives.

Download a digital copy

We are currently making digital records free to download to signed-in users.

To find records that are available to download for free, filter your search results in Discovery to include records that are ‘available for download only’.

To download for free, users will be required to:

  • Register/sign in to their Discovery account before adding items to their basket (maximum 10 items per basket)
  • Abide by the terms of our fair use policy
  • Complete the order process to receive a download link, which will remain active for 30 days. (The link will also be saved in ‘Current orders’ in your account for 30 days)

Our usual terms of use still apply – digital copies can be downloaded for non-commercial private use and educational purposes only, and bulk downloads and web crawlers are not permitted.

Some digitised records are also available to view through websites such as Findmypast or Ancestry: this will be specified in the catalogue description in Discovery. These are usually free to search but there may be a subscription charge to view.